Johnny Mercer thought It Had To Be You was the greatest popular song ever written. Given its longevity, it would be hard to top this lovely ballad from 1924, with music by Isham Jones, one of the few bandleaders who made a fortune by gambling that he’d make more on royalties than a fixed salary from the record company. The lyrics are by Gus Kahn, a lyricist with an astounding number of hit songs from the Great American Songbook.
James L. King III’s arrangement is taken from the original “operatic edition” of 1924, staying exactly true to its form: intro-vamp-verse-chorus-chorus-verse-chorus.
It’s a timeless classic, made even more popular by its inclusion in movies: Casablanca, Annie Hall, and When Harry Met Sally all include It Had To Be You in their soundtracks.
It’s also a great piece for Valentine’s Day performances, weddings, and anniversaries.
Key: G major
Mood: Happy, affectionate, bouncy
Pedagogy: chromatic passages, staccato, D.S., vamp, fermatas